Using Wire Mesh in the Garden

Inexpensive wire mesh will make your gardening easier, create trellises, sturdy tomato cages, even minigreenhouses using wire mesh in the the garden.


| June/July 2002



These wire towers can support full-size tomato plants, and you can make season-extending covers for the cages.

These wire towers can support full-size tomato plants, and you can make season-extending covers for the cages.


PHOTO: CHRISTINE ERIKSON

Make inexpensive trellises, tomato cages and minigreenhouses using wire mesh in the garden.

Wire mesh is at the top of my list of things that make vegetable gardening easier and more efficient. Intended for reinforcing concrete, the stiff 6 by 6-inch wire mesh makes perfect cages to support tomatoes or other tall crops. It also works beautifully for constructing trellises and fences. Combine it with plastic sheeting or row cover fabric and you can make minigreenhouses for season-extension and isolation cages for protection against pests or to assure seed purity. Using wire mesh in the garden makes gardening easier.

Understand: I'm not talking about woven-wire fencing. Although woven wire can serve many of the same functions, it is expensive (due to galvanization and manufacturing methods) and difficult to work with (because of the hardness of the wire). Concrete reinforcing mesh, made of softer, 9-gauge wire, is inexpensive, stiff enough to make sturdy cages and easy to work with using pliers and wire cutters.

You can usually tell the difference just by looking at the mesh. Concrete-reinforcing wire oxidizes easily and often is already rusted when you buy it. Woven wire, because of its galvanized coating, remains bright for many years.

Reinforcing wire comes in flat panels measuring 10 feet long, 50-foot rolls and 150-foot rolls. In all cases, the mesh is 5 feet wide. The single sheets are the most expensive, and the 150-foot rolls are the cheapest. Depending on where you live, a 5 by 150-foot roll of mesh costs $50 to $60. Given the number of uses it has in the garden, it makes sense to buy the longer rolls.

The simplest method of using the mesh is for straight fencing and trellising to support tomatoes, beans and other vining plants, such as cucumbers and even melons. For instance, Scott Benson, in Upstate New York, grew out 100 tomato varieties on such fencing last year. Scott used 5 by 10-foot panels for this, because he feels it is aesthetically more pleasing and has safer edges than panels cut from a roll: an important consideration for him because his grow-out was part of a high school project.

stephann
7/29/2016 11:57:01 AM

Any concerns with the metal wire leaching something unwanted into the organic soil? Thanks. This is a very helpful and inspirational article. The details make all the difference.


amyon
7/29/2013 11:56:17 PM

Gaorui Metal Products Co., Ltd. is mainly engaged in production and sales of various of Inexpensive http://www.apgaorui.com/en/ which make your gardening easier, create trellises, sturdy tomato cages, even mini greenhouses using wire mesh in the the garden.. Tel:13663389001 MSN: amyon@hotmail.com Skype: luckamy99


46hillbilly
5/8/2013 7:14:18 PM

These can be made from Large Hole Stock fence panels.  The ones that have smaller holes near the bottom and the top 3/4 of them is about 6" x 8" hole size. The wire can be cut so that the ends are able to bend over with channel lock pliers to form a hinge.  this allows them to be folded flat and stored on Bicycle hangers.  By using the same wire panels; cucumbers and squashes can be trellised for Much easier picking and stay clean.

 


sarah anderson
6/2/2012 1:44:33 AM

Tufbell is no longer available. But there is a replacement product called Dio Betalon.


greg west
6/2/2012 12:55:59 AM

I have to say you have cheap prices on your wire mesh. A 150ft.roll here in Cartersville,GA. at Lowe's goes for over $100


carla hauman
6/1/2012 1:51:33 PM

After spending some trial and error years with tomato cages I have finally landed on a winner. Woody's folding tomato cages. No more over the top drooping and overgrown (falling down) plants. These sturdy cages are easy and cheap to build and stand 8ft tall. The instructions for building them can be found here on this site. Happy tomato growing!


beverly derouard
3/14/2011 9:48:37 AM

Thanks for all the great ideas! Could you please add pictures, drawings or photos. Thanks again!


geri _1
5/19/2009 12:13:34 PM

Hello. Thanks for the informative article. Where can I purchase concrete reinforcing wire in rolls or panels? I am having a difficult time locating a store that sells it with the 6x6 openings. Thanks.


nagle
7/22/2008 1:00:18 PM

I made a large set of tomato cages about 12 years ago with a full roll of wire mesh and I love them. I varied the diameter of the cages so they would nest inside each other and reduce the required storage space. My tomato plants literally grow out the top every year due to the very good support. They have been stored outside all this time and they are still in near new condition.






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